Best Uses of Hyatt Category 1-4 Certificates for Those Based Out of SE VA using Globalist Status
In this post, I wanted to go over some of the best ways to use category 1-4 Hyatt certificates, particularly for those wishing to only stay 1 or 2 nights who are traveling from SE VA.
Image courtesy Hyatt.com
Globalist Status Benefits
For anyone with Globalist status, & for those using someone else's Globalist status for a Guest of Honor certificate booking, it's best to know the benefits of status so that you can maximize your value.
Here is a picture with the benefits of Globalist status on the right:
Club lounge perks: Most locations that have a club lounge (primarily Hyatt Grands & some Hyatt Regencies) will provide free access to it if it’s open during the stay. It's best to reach out to the hotel to confirm that if it has a club lounge, it will be open for the duration of your stay, and ask what type of food will be available (i.e. morning breakfast, evening d'oeuvres, & dessert). For instance, with the Grand Hyatt in DC, I’ve confirmed directly with the hotel that this one is open and that the standard “continental breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres, and all-day refreshments” are available during stays, including on weekends. If the lounge is available, I recommend going there (not the restaurant) for free breakfast and other meals/snacks, with the lightest options typically at lunch, best options at breakfast, & 2nd best at dinner, typically with limited hours. While the evening options are typically called evening hors d'oeuvres, whether or not they can replace dinner depends in large part on the hotel. At Hyatts, it’s not typical for what’s served at lunch to be a meal replacement, & typically doesn’t include hot items, but it does vary by the hotel & I haven’t been to the Grand Hyatt Washington before.
Breakfast perk: When not staying at a location with a club lounge, at many Hyatt hotels that don't typically offer breakfast, guests "will receive daily complimentary full breakfast (which includes one entrée or standard breakfast buffet, juice, and coffee, as well as tax, gratuity and service charges) for each registered guest in the room, up to a maximum of two (2) adults and two (2) children."
Upgrade status perk: If space is available at check in at certain Hyatt brands (i.e. Regency & Grand), you would have the option to get upgraded up to a standard suite. It's not a bad idea to check a hotel in advance of a stay online to see if paid standard suites are available. If so, it's not a bad idea to call the hotel to see what percent of suites are booked. Keep in mind that according to the terms, "Not valid at Caption by Hyatt, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Destination by Hyatt Residences, or Vacation Ownership Property hotels and resorts."
If a hotel has any parking fees paid directly to the hotel ($62/night typically at Grand Hyatt Washington), destination fees ($20/night at Grand Hyatt Washington), or resort fees, those shouldn’t be needed due to Globalist status.
For more term details, go here.
Drivable Options Where You Can Stay
With a category 1-4 free night certificate, you'd be able to stay in standard rooms (or up to a standard suite in some cases via a free status upgrade if space is available upon check in) at any of Hyatt's >1000 category 1-4 properties around the world. That said, I'd generally recommend one of their category 3-4 properties that would be a <4 hr drive or flight(s). For instance, here are some drivable options & options by train outside of Hampton Roads:
Image courtesy Hyatt.com
Image courtesy Hyatt.com
Top Suggested Hotel for a Drivable Visit
For options in DC, here is my top recommendation:
Here are those same rooms if booked in cash from a picture used from a previous recommendation on a prior date:
With fees included for the king bed:
Of course, dates will vary in $ price, but the certificate value remains the same, so with the certificates, pricier dates can be ideal to maximize value. That said, lower-cost $ dates typically will have a higher likelihood of an upgrade due to our status.
The location is also relatively good:
Suggested Alternative DC Hotels for a Drivable Visit
For alternative options in DC, here are some more options that I would recommend considering:
Another option would be Hyatt Regency Washington on Capital Hill:
With this one, it doesn’t appear to have a club lounge.
Here’s the executive suite in the event that you did get an upgrade:
Here’s another viable option if you’d prefer a waterfront view, but further from the city with less extra perks due to status since Hyatt Place is an exclusion for upgrades:
Here’s the cash rate for comparison:
In case you’d like to be the closest property Hyatt has to the White House, it’s relatively low value at times compared to the others & also lacks upgrade perks, but this one is available:
Here is another property with a club lounge more distant from DC:
And here's one more closer to the heart of DC:
In case you’d like to explore additional options, properties (excluding all-inclusive properties) at 18k, 15k, or below points are possible as long as there is standard room (whether at standard rates, off-peak rates, or peak rates) points availability at them.
Suggested Alternative Chapel Hill Hotels for a Drivable Visit
Low Cost Direct Flight Options Where You Can Stay
It's a good idea to check Google flights to look for options across a broad range of dates.
Here's a map of some of those direct flights available at least as of the time of the map creation. In many of those cases, there are category 3-4 options for a stay.
Here's one example of where you could save over $500 on a 1-night hotel stay in Miami to get away from the colder VA temperatures.
Another example would be NYC on New Years Eve saving $749 at Hyatt Regency JFK Airport:
The Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia is a location where you could save at least as high as $449 for a night.
The Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago Athletic Association, Andaz Savannah, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, & Eliza Jane (New Orleans), Hyatt Regency Sarasota (FL), & Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort (Orlando) are some additional solid options with over $400 in value possible at each depending on dates, but there are plenty of alternatives as well with over $400 in value. While you typically won't be getting $400 in value, Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, which I've stayed at, is another solid option due to the location and club lounge, though the temperatures in the Winter are significantly colder than those in Miami.
For a 1 night stay, I'd generally recommend leaving early in the morning and getting back at night in an ideal world. I'd also generally recommend travel that would be less than 4 hours each way. If you leave at 8 AM, get to a location at 12 PM, and then return at 5 PM, you'd have a full 24 hr day plus an afternoon at a destination. In some cases, you may want to make stops or take detours along the way if driving.
While it may be tempting to pick the first destination that comes to mind where a category 1-4 property is available, I suggest only choosing a destination where you'd be getting high value. If you only pick a category 1 hotel property just because it's the only hotel when you want and where you want it, you'll likely be leaving a lot of value on the table.
I also recommend choosing a hotel not just based on the standard price, but based on all the savings you'd receive based on the Globalist status benefits. I'm particularly a fan of properties with a club lounge that have a number of standard suites.
When considering a 1 night stay, be sure to keep in mind additional costs like:
Parking Fees (typically not an issue since parking is free at Hyatt hotels, but be sure to confirm prior to booking)
Rental Car Costs if flying or going by train and you don't plan to use another form of transit
Baggage fee costs for transit, if applicable
If you have a Bank of America credit or debit card, and especially if others in your party have one as well, consider timing your visit to go on a Museum's On Us weekend (the first full weekend of every month) in a city with an attraction that you'd like to visit.